When recession struck last year, pay cuts, discount coupons and retrenchments became the trend. But good things can still be born out of devastation, like mushrooms can be produced out of fungus. So aspiring entrepreneurs and chefs who were searching for ways to conduct feasibility studies on new business ideas or gain exposure with what little they could scrape together invented the concept of pop-up restaurants. These are eateries that just popped out of nowhere, sprouting all over New York, and are in danger of disappearing in a poof of smoke anytime soon, so you had better try it now, folks!
There is something about the word “limited” that makes people want to buy something even if they wouldn’t have done so under normal circumstances. Like it’s telling you “I won’t be around for long, so better grab me while you still can.” It instills a “now or never” vibe, the same thing you feel when you go shopping abroad – you know you have to buy that thing you like because you can’t go back for it later and you certainly don’t want to regret not buying it when you’re already back home. This is one of the reasons why these pop-ups are such a huge hit.
Another reason is its exclusivity – not everyone knows about it and yet you stumbled upon it like an unexpected treasure. It’s that same feeling you get when a friend shares a secret with you, prefacing it with the words “you’re the only one I told this to” and you feel pleased that you know something that no one else does and you feel so smug about it until you find out from a common friend that he had also been told the same thing.
But then again, finding out about a juicy secret is also a great feeling, so if you want to know where the latest pop-ups are, you gotta stay attuned to Twitter.
Some notables of the pop-up kind that we discovered thanks to LA Times:
AsiaDog, at Trophy Bar, 351 Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; (347) 227-8515; asiadognyc.com. 7-11 p.m. Tuesdays starting about the first week of May. In the summertime, AsiaDog takes over Trophy Bar, a neighborhood watering hole in Williamsburg, on Tuesday evenings. It serves hot dogs topped with Asian-influenced condiments. One slathered with Japanese curry and housemade kimchi apples is popular, as is the bánh mi-style hot dog and the bulgogi-inspired burger. The atmosphere is low-key, like a casual backyard barbecue.
Bep at Simple Cafe, 346 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; (718) 218-7067; beprestaurant.blogspot.com. Year-round on Monday, Thursday and Friday nights. At a little more than a year old, this Vietnamese restaurant operates out of an unassuming French coffee shop, Simple Cafe. Bep now takes over Simple Cafe three days a week. The menu is filled with fresh Vietnamese classics. Although the food is tasty, the allure, of course, is that it’s not really a restaurant. There’s no sign on the door announcing that it serves Vietnamese food.
Sandwiched, Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Ave., N.Y.; (212) 570-3600, www.whitney.org .The pop-up is open through May 30. Danny Meyer, one of the city’s biggest restaurateurs, has launched a pop-up restaurant at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Biennial exhibition. For the duration of the exhibit” which runs until May 30″ the temporary restaurant is open inside the museum. Chefs from Meyer’s empire, such as Floyd Cardoz of Tabla and Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, have designed sandwiches for the menu, and pastry chefs from the restaurants have created sweets for the dessert list.
Do you know of any other must-try delicious mushrooms secrets pop-up restaurants? Please let us know in the comments section.